A clean coal gasifcation plant located outside of West Terre Haute, Ind., is being repurposed to produce ammonia fertilizer for use in the region. The acquisition and conversion of the plant, which had been scheduled to be decommissioned, will not only save existing jobs, but also create roughly 100 permanent local manufacturing jobs.

Phibro LLC, an independent commodity merchant company, announced that its affiliate, Philipp Brothers Fertilizer, together with a group of investors, have acquired SG Solutions' Gasification Plant that until recently produced synthetic gas and steam to fuel the adjacent Wabash River Combined Cycle Plant owned by Wabash Valley Power Association.

Following the conversion, the plant will use petroleum coke ("petcoke") sourced from Midwest refineries as a feedstock to produce ammonia. Petcoke is more economical than the natural gas many other ammonia plants use as a feedstock and will enable the plant to offer local farmers more affordable fertilizer. The gasification plant's clean coal technology, which was first funded by the Department of Energy more than two decades ago, allows for repurposing it to a world-scale ammonia production plant. There are very few plants in the U.S. with similar technology.

The Phibro Group plans to invest approximately $450 million into the plant to convert it to produce ammonia and is targeting a mid-2018 completion date.